Salzburg and the Lake District

Monday, October 5, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , | Be the first to comment!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Salzburg was the next stop on our tour through Bavaria. Like most tourists, the main draw of Salzburg was the Sound of Music tour to have an excuse to have sing along with 100+ adults and it did not disappoint. Before meeting the tour group, we stopped in a cafe for a pastry and coffee and I immediately knew that Austrian coffee was much better than whatever we had been drinking in Munich. I even made friends with two retired gentlemen sitting besides up. On the trip I realized that living in Florida was an easy conversation starter because it is one of the few states that most have heard of or have even been too (hello Orlando, Miami and West Palm) and suprisingly people had heard of Tallahassee which blew my mind. 

And then we were off on our morning bus ride through town and the Lake District with stops to see the Abbey, the house(s) used in the film and the church from the wedding scene. The Lake District was unbelievably quaint and surrounded by mountains in all directions. Apfel strudle and coffee made for the perfect pick me up in Mondsee. 

Once we returned to Salzburg, after touring the gardens, we walked to the city center for a quick walking tour. I loved how the city was set up in squares and you could wander from one to the next getting lost in the maze. Snacks along the way included my first currywurst of the trip and a stop at the Augustiner beer hall to end the day.

There were a lot of tourists in Salzburg and most were in large tour groups which were hard to maneuver around. Also, walking is pretty much the only way to get around Salzburg so by the early afternoon my feet were not happy. Samantha and I took the train up to the top of the fortress to take in the views, which was well worth the cost. 

Munich and Regensburg

Monday, September 21, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , | Be the first to comment!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Looking back on my week-long trip to Germany and Austria, I am still amazed by how much I was able to fit into one week. I don't think I could have kept up the same pace for another week, but it would have been nice to have more time to explore the region. 

After landing and dropping our bags off at our Airbnb (we stayed in this flat for reference and I can't recommend it enough!) we grabbed a sandwich in the train station and visited Dachau since many of the other sites were not open on Sundays. I had mixed feelings about beginning the trip with Dachau since I knew that it would weigh heavy on my heart. Seeing the camp in person helped bring to life the Holocaust history and literature lessons in high school and nothing can quite prepare you for it.

After we arrived back in Munich, we had dinner at Geisinger Garten, a neighborhood Bavarian restaurant, at the recommendation of our Airbnb host and it did not disappoint. It was the first of many meals of pork, dumplings, pickled veggies and beer to come for the week. And I didn't hate it one bit.

Monday was spent on a day trip to the medieval town of Regensburg, about 2.5 hours northeast of Munich. It was just Samantha and I and a Canadian couple along with our tour guide. The village was unique in that all within about ten minutes you could see part of the Roman wall, a 14th century cathedral and Zara. The town center, with its narrow lanes of pastel-colored buildings, reminded me a lot of Nice. One of the highlights of the day was eating lunch at Wurstkuchl, the oldest sausage stand in the world. They've had 500 years to perfect sausage, sauerkraut and sweet mustard. 

Tuesday was our last day in Munich before we caught a late afternoon train to Salzburg. In each city, we opted to do the Rick Steves Walking Tour on his Radio Europe app. If you like going at your own pace, I would highly recommend them. They were a great way to get aquainted with the city center and know where museums or sites are to revisit and explore more indepth. 

The walking tour took about 3-4 hours (with stops for snacks at 3 hour intervals of course) and took us by Marienplatz, St. Peter's Church, Viktualienmarkt, Asam Church, Hofbrauhaus, Residenz, Hofgarten and Englischer Garten to name a few. From many of the blogs I read in preparing for the trip, the consensus was that Munich was a fantastic hub to take day trips to Bavaria from, but didn't require much time in itself for exploration. I would agree with that. It would have been nice to have had a full day to not feel as rushed. Although we did end up dozing off on a park bench in the English Garden before heading back to the train station, so perhaps I couldn't have lasted on my feet all day after all.  

I would like to end this semi-brief recap of my trip with a warning to never fly United internationally. About halfway into the 9 hour flight, after the dinner service and the lights were turned off, I had a brief moment I didn't think I would be able to make it through the remainder of the flight. I know that sounds awfully dramatic, but coach was like a cattle car, especially when the person in front of you decides to recline their seat and there were only four in-flight movies to choose from so don't count on that being a distraction. End rant.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Saturday, September 5, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport|| Be the first to comment!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Today's the day! After a year of dreaming and Google hangout planning sessions, Samantha and I are off on our Bavarian adventure. You can follow along on Instagram @jesskboyd and @thesamanthatosh.

A Little Life Update

Monday, August 31, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Samantha and I leave for our week-long adventure in Germany and Austria on Saturday. We've been planning and dreaming about this trip in some form or fashion since graduation two years ago. The destination changed several times along the way and for the past year we have been working out all of the details and brushing up on our Hapsburg history. Part of the thrill of traveling for me is planning because extends the excitement a little longer. 

During our semester abroad, we did little planning outside of picking our favorite destinations and booking a place to stay. Other than that, we showed up, wandered around, explored, and did things as we stumbled upon them. Which was fine. But other than finding every gelato stand in Venice, I feel like I may have missed out a little or didn't fully appreciate what I was looking at because I had zero historical or cultural context for the area. 

For the most part, this will not be one of those trips. I would like to leave feeling like I saw and did everything I wanted to and it would be ok if I never made it back for a second visit. You can follow along on Instagram @jesskboyd

In other life news, I got a new job! This week will be the last at my current job, next week I'm on vacation, and then I start at my new agency right after I return. Needless to say, the next month will be chaotic. But in an exciting way. 

My newsfeed is filled with new moves and adventures. Many of the friends I graduated with are on their second city. At times I love that I've finally started to feel at home. I don't have to use Google maps every time I get in the car. I have my favorite restaurants and coffee shops. I'm comfortable. As nice as that sound, I don't want to grow too settled into a routine where I wake up in five years not realizing where the time has gone.

This is the time to explore, wander, dream, try new things and see new places. Although I won't spend a year biking from Oregon to Patagonia, I want to be conscious of not slipping into a rut simply because it makes me comfortable whether it eventually ends in a move and a leap of faith, or simply mixing it up more at home. 

What do you do when you begin to feel restless staying in one place too long? 

Floridian Stereotypes that May or May Not Have a Hint of Truth

Thursday, August 13, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Source: Roger Ahlbrand, CC-BY-2.0, via Flickr

1. We all go to Disney World every single weekend. Although it is centrally located in the state, I've yet to go once in the 1.5 years of living here and at $100 per person/per day I don't plan on it anytime soon.

2. And if we happen to not be at the happiest place on earth, we are at the beach. You can be at the coast within an hour or so from most areas of the state and can enjoy a beach day or weekend almost year round to avoid the crowds.

3. Flip flops and/or sandals are worn year round. I'm not a fan of the "sweatshirt and sandal" look. Plus I love booties and loafers too much to want to deal with sandals in the fall/winter.

4. It is overrun by tourists and snowbirds. This is more true farther south, but there is a sharp increase in northern license plates and RVs between January and May.

5. It is a constant vacation. If only. Living in one of the most popular tourist destinations, it's exciting to either plan short trips in-state or find a lesser-known city to enjoy a getaway. 

6. Coats are required if the temperature dips below 65. And if it hovers around the freezing point during the day, then everyone spirals into a minor panic.

7. All of the murder trials covered by HLN are in Florida. Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman, and Michael Dunn to name a few. Nancy Grace should consider relocating from Atlanta to the sunshine state. 

8. The news is filled with bizarre stories that would only happen here. For example, the Florida Man Twitter handle.

9. Alligator sightings are a common, every day occurrence. This is one I try to avoid at all costs. Similar to comparing going into the ocean to going to the shark's house, going to the river/lake/golf course in Florida is similar to going to the alligator's house. 

10. There is a Publix on every corner. This is one I wish were true and with the amount of new stores opening, it is a real possibility. Publix truly is where shopping is a pleasure. And home of pub subs. 

Michelle of The Barefaced Chic

Tell us a little about you and your blog. 
The Barefaced Chic is a quirky, imaginative lifestyle blog that offers a slightly wacky sanctuary in a sea of sensibility. Its mission is to bring its a frequent dose of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, health, sound advice and laughs. And, in this sometimes cookie cutter world, the aim of The Barefaced Chic is to be the chocolate, raspberry crème brûlée!

With a no nonsense approach, within the features on this blog, mature women are encouraged to celebrate themselves, love their quirks and feel happy in their own skin: hence The Barefaced Chic.

It's creator, Michelle, is a massive advocate of living the life we are meant to live and ageing with attitude!

If you could eat only one meal for an extended period of time, what would it be? 
It would have to be lobster, of seafood of any kind - I think I may have been a mermaid in a former life :)

Any suggestions for TV shows to binge watch this summer?
I'm not a massive TV watcher, I tend to pop a DVD on when I'm in a 'slob in front of the telly mood'. The last thing I watched was Breaking Bad - I watched it end-to-end one long weekend.

Any upcoming travels/adventures on the horizon? Anywhere you are dying to go? 
I am incredibly lucky as I travel a huge amount for both business and pleasure. I don't really tend to like the 'norm' so sitting around the pool in the sun is not really my style. For my honeymoon four years ago my hubby and I packed up our MX5 and drove across France, Spain and Portugal with nothing booked. We almost slept in the car a few times, but it was one heck of an adventure. I'd love to do something similar just across Spain, or maybe drive Route 66.

Get to know Michelle more: 

Why Home Offices Shouldn't Be in Close Proximity to Netflix

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Your workspace can make or break your productivity. Too cluttered with paper and half-thought-out ideas and you may end up abandoning it in favor of another more zen spot. On the other hand, if your desk is too sterile, all inspiration is stifled. 

WeWork inspired this post to discuss the things that I love about my current work space, I started thinking about how my mini alcove is a far cry from the home office of my Pinterest dreams. However, I love the clean, simple lines of the desk and that the space is open and bright. When I first moved in the idea was to keep the surface pristine, however there are now piles of books, notecards, mail and pens stacked in a semi-coherent order over most of it. Note to self: never underestimate the importance of drawers. 

Although i have a desk and chair, I almost always end up with my laptop sitting on the couch or, if I need to spread out, the dining table. I've thought about if I would be able to work from home. from this apartment. And while i enjoy my space, my bed is only five steps away and so is my TV and Netflix so i think the temptation would be too much. 

As much as I love my apartment, I enjoy working away from home. Should I ever decide to take a leap of faith and freelance or start my own business or telecommute for a company, I would look into renting a shared work space, at least a few days a week and especially if it affords a place to meet with clients. WeWork has beautifully designed co-working locations in major cities across the country designed for startups, freelancers, entrepreneurs and small businesses. Whether you need a place to mix up your routine a couple days a week, or a conference room to host meetings with your growing team, they have something for every up-and-comer. 

And if Samantha would get her way and convince me to move to the Lonestar state (not that I don't want to on my own!) then i would definitely consider snagging a seat in the WeWork studio.


Don't Be the Obnoxious American

Monday, August 3, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 1 Comment

Monday, August 3, 2015

When out of the country, no one wants to be the obnoxious person who has to secretly hope everyone they come in contact with either speaks English or can translate a crude sign language system. Most people have the best intentions to travel equipped with a few key phrases (particularly "do you speak English?") in the language of the land they are visiting. 

If you are visiting multiple countries on your adventure then the goal becomes much more far fetched. Before traveling from Paris to Italy for spring break, I had just felt comfortable with basic conversational French. The idea of Italian phrases was too much and even common greetings and words that are almost identical in Spanish escaped me. The silver lining of that experience was that a lifetime of eating a American/Italian restaurants sort of prepared me to navigate the menu, which if we're being honest is the most important lesson.

A year ago I had the best of intentions of knowing much more than the basic German for Travelers. But, alas, one month out and I'm doing good to count to ten. Slowly. As the realization began to sink in I frantically started flying through Duolingo lessons and daily Coffee Break German sessions hoping to get a crash course in language learning which has never been my strong suit. Instead of Spotify, I have German radio turned on in the background hoping that something will sink in.

Do you have any tips or resources for learning the bare necessities for vacation?